Jail for armed siege man suffering mental health problems

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Alexander Psaila
Alexander Psaila (34) was jailed for 15 months

A MAN with mental health problems who sparked an armed siege in New Milton has been sentenced to 15 months behind bars.

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Alexander Psaila (34) was arrested after the nearly four-hour incident on 3rd July in which his mother’s home in Brecon Close was surrounded by officers bearing guns and wearing bullet-proof jackets and helmets.

Today (Friday) he appeared from prison via video link at Southampton Crown Court to be sentenced, having previously admitted causing damage to property and making threats to damage.

Prosecutor Alec Williams told the court that at the time of the offences, Psaila was an alcoholic and his drinking had worsened a range of mental health issues including agoraphobia, depression, emotionally unstable personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Although he had a home elsewhere in New Milton, he was living with his 64-year-old mother, Susan Psaila, in Brecon Close, who had made “strenuous attempts” to help him curb his drinking.

New Milton police raid
Armed officers were deployed to Brecon Close, New Milton

The defendant’s behaviour got worse the day before the siege, Mr Williams said, as he became intoxicated and intimidatingly demanded his mother go out and buy him more alcohol. She left to seek refuge at the local Conservative Club.

“Whilst there she receives phone calls from Mr Psaila where the intimidation continues on the phone. Amidst that abuse there’s a specific threat made that he will burn the house down,” he said.

In the background to the call were smashing noises, so Mrs Psaila called the police who went to the property without her, Mr Williams went on. But she was too scared to go back so she stayed with a friend, Mr Curtis.

“She then goes back to her address on the following morning of the 3rd with the assistance of Mr Curtis and finds she can’t get in through the front door because it’s been barricaded. They go in through the back door and find the defendant in the property, drunk and still abusive.

“It’s made clear that they want him to leave the property. He shouts, ‘Tough s***, try to evict a vulnerable person’.”

In the kitchen there were what appeared to be marks made by a knuckle duster which, Mr Williams added, amounted to about £1,000 in damage, as well as items thrown around the house.

“Officers were called and Mrs Psaila leaves the address and police arrive and he is arrested,” he concluded.

As reported in the A&T, two further charges against him of making threats to kill were discontinued at a previous court appearance.

Defending, Georgia Luscombe accepted a prison sentence but urged the judge not to impose a possible two-year restraining order banning Alexander Psaila from seeing his mother.

She said: “He fully accepts the sentence. But In terms of a restraining order all he wanted to convey to me is how distressing he finds being unable to speak to his mother for any time, let alone two years. She is his primary carer and depends on her including for managing his bank cards.

“He can’t stress enough how much of an impact a prohibition will have on him.”

Sentencing, Judge Gary Burrell QC said he took into account Psaila’s mental health problems and gave him credit for pleading guilty but said his behaviour had “alarmed your mother significantly”.

He sent him down for 15 months and gave him a restraining order for a year, limited to a ban on him going to Brecon Close.

Judge Burrell also ordered the confiscation of firearms from Alexander Psaila to become the property of his mother.

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